"Respect is a privilege, not a right."

That is what I particularly believe in. Living in a new era, where everyone has almost equal rights in society, I do believe that respect should be earned, not granted. I say "almost" because no matter how hard we try, how loud our voices cry, human nature made it as such that humans would almost always view themselves as superiors in one way or another (I say almost here to give allowances to those truly benevolence creatures who are above us, who do not discriminate). Some may call this self-confidence. Others would call it discrimination. But that is not the main point here.

For generations and generations before me, respect had always been granted and not earned, which is quite contrary to my beliefs. They believe that their position in a family, society or country warrants them certain degrees of respectability, some that they did not deserve. Alas, custom dictates it as such that the disadvantaged group is forced to yield, however much reluctantly.

For instance, the emperor of China (where my ancestors came from) wields supreme power over the whole country, and without question. Be he kind, cruel, greedy, selfless, compassionate, haughty, black or white, his word was the law, and anyone who objected a traitor. The same held true for heads of households (in China, extended families lived together), who frequently, like the emperor, subjected their inferiors to terror and cruelty in order to achieve submission. This terror they used to keep them at bay, at their 'rightful positions', and, in a manner of speaking, 'earned' their respect. Also, not forgetting people who advocate the so-called wonderful idea of male dominance, who used their unpolished, raw strength in an attempt to convince the female sex that they are superior and therefore more respectable.

I feel most grievously on this subject, as I myself is a victim of this situation. My father, though trying most earnestly to persuade me that he is not like the "Chinamen bastards" (no offence to my roots), he himself unconsciously betrays his own thoughts. He constantly reminds me that he believe himself to be worthy of respect simply because "I am your father" (This has absolutely nothing to do with Star Wars). Well, yes of course he is my father, but, I said to myself on countless occasions, I would rather he earn my respect like everyone else on earth by placing himself equally as others in my eyes, and not demand the respect he feels due to him, like I owe him any. I feel that he should rather ask himself, "What have I done for my daughter, except fathering her, that deserves her respect?"

For the two years that I have been made prefect, I have attended several leadership training camps, and the first lesson, always, is the concept of "leadership by example". It is, they say, important to set a good example which you want your fellow students to follow, not merely ordering them around like no tomorrow, but breaking the school rules yourself. It is also essential for us to gain our fellow students' trusts and respect first, before any of them would be willing or obliging to do as we ask (ask, not order). For who would willingly obey and carry out orders and requests of someone whom they do not respect, or even fear?

As I draw these conclusions, I wonder: shouldn't anyone, for the matter, gain respect in the same way as one another, regardless of their positions or seniority? Why should anyone be different in this aspect? Elder people can do as much wrong as young people, as can a father compared to his children, so why must the elders and fathers be more respected than youths and children? We are all humans who are equal before the law of right, therefore nobody owes anybody else anything, including respect, unless that person has rightfully earned it, and not for some stupid reason like "I am your father".

– Finis –